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[Herald Review] TXT’s magical first concert, ‘Act: Boy’
Five-piece band looks back on journey, ahead to next chapterBy Choi Ji-won
Published : Oct. 4, 2021 - 20:18
Sitting through the two and half hours of Tomorrow X Together’s online concert on Sunday afternoon, it was breathtaking to watch how closely the five band members connected with their fans, the Moas, even with only a virtual presence.
“Although I’ve heard screams so loud that they pierce through the in-ear headphones, it’s my first time hearing them come straight into my ears from the headphones,” said Taehyun during the concert, “Act: Boy,” on the digital livestreaming platform VenewLive.
Indeed, filling the spaces where thousands of fans would have sat were rows of blue light sticks that shone sporadically throughout the concert. They blinked and beamed madly whenever members threw out questions, seemingly expressing fans’ desperate urge to respond from behind their screens.
“Although we’re parted physically, our hearts are always together,” said band leader Soobin. “The Moas have always been with us on our first and best moments, and I feel overjoyed to be here today with you guys.”
The 150-minute session was a walk-through of the journey the five artists have taken since their debut in March 2019.
Kicking it off was the quintet’s debut title, “Crown,” from the EP “The Dream Chapter: Star.” The album’s B-side track, “Blue Orangeade,” infused the scene with the youth band’s fresh, vibrant energy.
“I’m already excited to fill up ‘Act: Boy’ tonight with Moas, marking the start to our new journey following ‘Dream Chapter’ and ‘Chaos Chapter,” Taehyun said. Excited screams greeted his words and echoed throughout the hall. Generated by fans and conveyed through speakers surrounding the band, the sound created an atmosphere no less heated than a real-life concert.
Inviting the fans deeper into their musical enchantment were the group’s hidden gems “Poppin’ Star,” “Our Summer” and “Can’t We Just Leave the Monster Alive.”
The bandmates delighted the fans with a surprise event during “Our Summer” where they jumped off the stage, stood among the light sticks in the audience, and held up placards with messages of love for Moas around the world.
The tech-savvy event not only presented fans with the show from six angles -- one showing the band all together and one focusing on each performer -- but also a chance to communicate with each other and the bandmates in real time. Brushing off sweat after the dance-heavy performances, the members read out the messages flooding the chat bar.
“Everyone’s saying we were great!” Hueningkai belted out, beaming as he followed the messages with his eyes. “It feels like summer when we’re all together! It was a whole different experience to be down there at the seats.”
Soobin added, “It felt strangely warm to be surrounded by Moa sticks. I could really feel you guys’ energy.”
Beomgyu looked right into the camera so the fans wouldn’t feel like the event was one-way. “You guys all shook your light sticks with us, right?” he shouted, to feverish screams and a frenzy of lights.
TXT’s first concert was perhaps not the most eye-popping in terms of state-of-the-art technology, especially considering the array of livestream events from K-pop acts amid the coronavirus restrictions. But the night was jam-packed with exclusive song performances.
The group switched up the mood by serving remix versions of its best hits. “Our Summer” got an upbeat twist through a tropical remix, while “Run Away” was altered with a thumping rock sound. “Can’t You See Me?” exploded with ferocity as the band danced against glaring images of fire, while the dance break version of “Blue Hour” exuded the group’s characteristically youthful spirit.
Some of the songs the group performed for the first time that night, including “Ice Cream” and “Frost.” Originally an R&B tune, “20cm” featured mic stand choreography, as did the jazz-pop “Fairy of Shampoo.”
The versatile quintet juggled different genres throughout the 25-track set list, ramping up the tension with vigorous bops “No Rules,” “Cat & Dog,” “Eternally” and “Puma,” then toning down the mood with soulful ballads “Nap of a Star” and “Magic Island.”
“From the dreaming boy to the boy in chaos, how did you find the dynamic colors of TXT unveiled through ‘Act: Boy’?” Soobin called out during a talk session with the fans.
“It’s just the start,” Taehyun said. “You’ll be seeing us mature in terms of music performance. I think we’ve actually become better with our past songs now. We’re more confident in doing them.”
Then Hueningkai spoke up. “We promise that we have more to show from us that Moas will be proud of.”
Having looked nervous and tense at first, the musicians seemed much more at ease. They fooled around with the fans and joked with each other.
For encores, and perhaps the climax of the night, they laid out their most recent hits, “0X1=Lovesong (I Know Love You)” and “Loser=Lover.” This was followed by the first live performance of “Dear Sputnik,” which showcased Taehyun’s talent as a lyricist and composer. Hueningkai took the helm of the song’s production.
The band members closed the show with two songs that hold special meaning for TXT and the Moas -- “Moa Diary,” a song the bandmates wrote for their beloved fans, and “; (Sweat),” unveiled for the first time during the concert.
Taehyun revealed his role in creating “; (Sweat),” saying he’d written it with his bandmates in mind.
As the sad, emotional melodies of their last song wound down, the band members addressed their fans.
Staying buoyant throughout the concert, Hueningkai spoke his farewell in trembling voice as he tried to keep his smile on.
"Although it's a shame since we really wanted to sing this to you in person, I'm glad we could at least share it like this. Stay safe until we meet again," he said.
“I suppose it will be the Moas, who’ve witnessed our journey from the start, who will feel the most overwhelmed right now,” Soobin said. “Although I’ve felt sad ending every show so far, it feels especially sad today as we met Moas from around the world.”
Yeonjun, who seemed as if he might burst into tears any minute, said, “I feel OK now, but I almost cried when we were singing ‘Nap of a Star.’ It reminded me of the moment when the Moas shook flashlights for us. We thank you, and we love you.”
“I’m not sure if you guys enjoyed the two-hour-long show,” Beomgyu said. “I feel more sorry, to be honest. There were many shortcomings, and we’re grateful for all your support throughout our first live concert. We postponed it to meet you guys in person, and we’re sorry that we couldn’t make it happen. I just hope that you guys are happy to end the weekend with us. Hopefully, we’ll see you eye-to-eye at our concert next year.”
Sunday’s concert attracted viewers from 126 countries and regions around the world. The recorded show will be released on VenewLive on Oct. 10.
By Choi Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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